Taking the bar exam while in labor and delivery? 

I am woman. Hear me roar!

The late Helen Reddy was my mother’s favorite singer-songwriter, and a law graduate in Chicago has reminded me of just how inspirational Ms. Reddy's music was and still is. On what seemed like every Saturday, my Mama Grace would turn up the eight-track (yes, I am dating myself) and play “I Am Woman” as loud as the speakers would allow.

Sing it with me…. 

Oh yes, I am wise

But it's wisdom born of pain

Yes, I've paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong


I am invincible


I am woman…

Throughout my life, when faced with fear, challenges, and anxiety, I would recall Ms. Reddy's (and co-composer Ray Burton's) words. Upon graduating from law school and preparing for my bar examination, I doubted myself.  What if I failed? I set those worries aside, remembering the words, "I am wise, I am woman." As a young associate, when considering whether to have a family, I doubted my ability to have a career and be a half-way decent mother. I made the decision to go for it, repeating, "I am strong. I am woman."  

However, I know my limits. I cannot do "anything," and I am not invincible. There are things no woman can do. For example, one can't take a bar examination while in labor and delivering a baby. Those two things are just too excruciatingly painful to even contemplate performing at the same time.

But Brianna Hill, a recent graduate of Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, recently did just that! She went into labor while taking Part 1 of the Illinois bar exam. She stuck with it, completed Part 1, her husband took her to the hospital, and she gave birth to their son, little Cassius Phillip. The next day, while still in the hospital, she took and completed Part 2 of the exam.  

I do not think there is a Helen Reddy “I Am Woman” award, but there should be, and it should be presented to Ms. Hill. As far as I’m concerned, she is strong, she is invincible, she is woman!

Now, let's crank up that volume:

Congratulations, Brianna! (And rest in peace, Helen Reddy.)

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